From a distance, the combined figures of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM—judged from last year’s botched elections, looks all pretty to Tonse Alliance.
If you add Saulos Klaus Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera’s votes and compare them with President Peter Mutharika and Atupele Muluzi, the likely prediction is that Tonse Alliance is forming the next government.
But UTM vice president Micheal Usi remarks in Mangochi rally on Sunday can corrobate my standpoint that those are just figures and, perhaps you forgot, figures don’t have life, they don’t have feelings.
It is people who have life and feelings—to mean, people can change and that is where the problem starts.
The winner in the elections ahead of us will be decided, principally, by the alliance team that woos more swing voters to its fold than others.
This, in my opinion, is where I think DPP/UDF Alliance is being deftly strategic by front lining their running mate Atupele Muluzi.
Truth be told, Atupele greatest political challenge is his accident of birth—Bakili Muluzi’s son.
On his own, without his father’s alleged political sins, Atupele has, over the years till now, practiced politics of civility and, at a personal level, he is humble, approachable. There is absolutely nothing terrible and irritating about him.
That is a political capital he carries, across the country, in selling the embattled and grossly boring Mutharika.
Look here, Atupele is attracting thousands wherever he goes. It is not, of course, that all those that attend his rallies will vote for him; however, the great gatherings are making him audible and visible to so many voters—and some of them are swing voters.
In the past two weeks, Atupele has been crisscrossing the northern region and, truth be told, his wave has been quite immense.
The Northern Region is quite an important block in this election because, since the death of Chakufwa Chihana and Aford, it has never been a home of any political party.
Simply, the Northern Region is a swing block that whoever gets a larger share in it, will increase their chances of winning.
During the last botched elections, much of the region’s vote went to UTM for one simple fact: Chilima was not DPP, was not MCP but spoke of abolishing quota system, building more universities in the area, collaborated with Livingstonia Synod, just to mention a few.
If you analyze the patterns of the Northern Region vote and, also, political behavior, you will note that the region has unforgettable historical scars and fresh reeling pains with MCP and DPP respectively.
The region, check your facts, doesn’t have serious issues with UDF, or, for all his worse, Bakili Muluzi.
Now look here.
There are some, and they are so many, that, even now, still can’t imagine voting for MCP. DPP used to have support from the north until Bingu wa Mutharika started a tribal war with the region. UDF has never had any.
Chilima has led his party to MCP and that, alone, is a serious draw back to conservatives in the region who, in whichever way, will never vote for MCP. Of some people don’t mind. At the same time, DPP has abolished the region’s most hated quota system and, evidently, more schools from the region have sent a number of students to the university.
So cleverly of DPP, they sent Atupele whose banner, UDF, doesn’t have so many issues with the region at the time when they have abolished quota system.
Interestingly, Atupele in the north has been the sober boy he has always been, always smiling, encouraging, giving hope and speaking about the future.
Arguably, UTM/DPP Alliance should brace for a giant crusade of the northern region vote to DPP/UDF Alliance.
It may not just be in the Northern Region. Any place with swing voters, be assured that people will swarm to listen to Atupele because he carries himself with quite an interesting level of sobriety that swing voters expect.
This is why Atupele must never be underestimated.
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